Micro Places – Armitage & Monchuk (2011)

Study Reference:

Armitage, R., & Monchuk, L. (2011). Sustaining the crime reduction impact of designing out crime: Re-evaluating the Secured by Design scheme 10 years on. Security Journal, 24, 320-343.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Micro places; Focused; Highly Proactive; Moderately Rigorous; Mixed findings

What police practice or strategy was examined?

This study examined the effectiveness of the Secured by Design (SBD) scheme as a crime reduction measure in the United Kingdom (UK). SBD is an award scheme that aims to encourage housing developers to design out crime at the planning or concept stage. It is managed by the Association of Chief Police Officers Crime Reduction Initiatives. The scheme sets standards for compliance that developments must meet to be awarded SBD status. These standards regulate physical security, surveillance, access/egress, territoriality, and management and maintenance of the buildings.

How was the intervention evaluated?

The study evaluated the effectiveness of the SBD scheme as a crime reduction measure using a variety of methods and data from 1999 to 2009. Specifically, the study examined whether residents living within 16 SBD developments built in 2006/2007 experienced less police-reported crime (between August 2007 and July 2008) and citizen-reported crime and fear of crime than their non-SBD counterparts; whether these SBD developments showed less visual signs of crime and disorder, as scored by researchers over a 3-day period, than their non-SBD counterparts; and finally, whether properties built to the SBD standard were able to sustain any crime reduction benefit over a 10-year period by comparing the crime rate between 1999 and 2009 in two randomly selected originally matched pairs.

What were the key findings?

The study found mixed results. Specifically, the authors found positive results when comparing crime rates in SBD developments to those in the larger area where SBD developments are located as well as in the non-SBD counterparts that are located on the same street, but did not find significant positive effects when comparing matched pairs of SBD with non-SBD developments. They also found that SBD intervention did not prevent repeat victimization, especially for assault. Overall, however, total crime rates and burglary dwelling rates for the SBD sample were much lower in 2009 than in 1999.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that SBD should be delivered incorporating measures to reduce repeat victimization that extend beyond the limits of design of the environment.

Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?